LITTLE ROCK — Buried under notes from old interviews, a nugget was uncovered.
Arkansas’ pre-spring practice depth chart showed Brey Cook or Jason Peacock at one tackle, Grant Cook at guard, Travis Swanson at center, Seth Oxner or Alvin Bailey at the other guard, and Grant Freeman or Anthony Oden at the other tackle.
Less than two weeks until the season opener, the starting offensive line appears to be Freeman and Mitch Smothers at tackle, Bailey and Grant Cook at guard, and Swanson at center.
Referring to a Johnny Mathis song, "Chances Are" the offensive line that starts against Missouri State on Sept. 3 is the same one that lines up against Alabama on Sept. 24?
Considering the shuffling that has gone on in August, make that likelihood 20 percent.
Some other propositions for the 2011 season:
• Chances are 90 percent that redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Mitchell will take at least 30 snaps prior to Alabama. The inferior opposition, particularly in the first two games, should permit Bobby Petrino to get Tyler Wilson off the field before the start of the fourth quarter. Keep in mind that Ryan Mallett got knocked out of two games last year so Petrino needs to get a look at Mitchell in game situations, just in case.
• Chances are both Wilson and Mitchell will have more rushing yards than any quarterback since Matt Jones netted 622 in 2004. Also 90 percent on this trick question because Mallett in 2009-10, Casey Dick in 2006-2008, and Mitch Mustain or Dick in 2005 all finished with minus yards. Wilson will scramble for some positive yardage and Mitchell will make some gains reading the option, maybe out of the Pistol formation.
• Chances are Arkansas will not have a 1,000 yard rusher, 50 percent. Both Ronnie Wingo Jr. and Dennis Johnson could be effective and still come up short. This swings on whether or not one back gets a preponderance of carries or whether the workload is divided pretty evenly. Last year, for instance, Knile Davis gained 1,322 yards while getting 100 attempts more than No. 2, Broderick Green.
• Chances are that an underclassmen will be the leading receiver, 30 percent. The deck is stacked in favor of the seniors — Joe Adams, Greg Childs, and Jarius Wright. They were the second, third, and fourth leading receivers last year behind the departed D.J. Williams, but junior Cobi Hamilton has a chance to upstage all three. The lack of a proven commodity at tight end means more opportunities for running backs and wide receivers.
• Chances are Arkansas will reduce its number of turnovers, 60 percent. The Razorbacks suffered 24 turnovers last year — in the SEC, only Florida and South Carolina had more. Half of Arkansas’ turnovers were interceptions off Mallett. Wilson will take fewer chances downfield.
• Chances are the Razorbacks will improve their number of sacks, 30 percent. Even if tackle Robert Thomas is as good as advertised and the defensive front is Arkansas’ best in years, this is unlikely. The catch is that the Razorbacks were second in the SEC last season with 37 sacks. Only South Carolina was better with 41 in 14 games.
• Chances are more than three of Arkansas’ SEC games will be on CBS, 20 percent. The Razorbacks made three such appearances last year. This year, the LSU game is set and the Alabama game is almost set. Arkansas-South Carolina will play second fiddle to Alabama-LSU and Mississippi State is the next choice.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is email@example.com.